During Phoenix Lights 2019 we met with Tim Wu, the man behind Elephante. This Michigan native has gained fame through his remixes of artists such as Clean Bandit and Lorde, but his talent is perpetual. Not only does he have a stirring eye for progressive house, he has mad brains; not every DJ can say they graduated from an Ivy League school while majoring in economics. People say the truth lies behind the eyes, but for this artist-ephante it’s all in the hair. Although his heart is parceled with humble character, his blond-dyed locks say ‘Don’t f*** with me.”
We were honored to share a moment with Elephante at Phoenix Lights 2019.
Tell me, who is Elephante?
Elephante is an alien from outer space who was dropped here to make EDM for people.
Play ‘Catching On’ below:
How did you get involved with EDM?
I grew up playing music, so I played in bands my whole life. Two years ago I started making dance music for fun while I was doing the indie-rock thing and it kind of clicked. I fell in love with it and became obsessed. Now here I am!
So you are classically trained in piano, correct? How has that helped you produce and create music?
Yes, I am classically trained. My mom made me and I kicked and screamed, but now I am thankful, so listen to your moms everyone! My music is very melodic and it’s very much about the song and the soul of it. I believe having that background, the piano training, makes it so that I understand where the song is going without the production. That is sort of the foundation. The electronics and production just elevates that, the soul of the song. I feel that is somewhat of a less approach used by others, so it has helped me stand out a bit.
You are about to hit the stage. Do you have any fears while performing?
I have a constant fear that the CDJs are going to break and that my set is going to stop. It is a little bit irrational, but it’s not because it has happened before. The first 10 minutes is a little nerve-racking. I’m just like ‘Please let this work’. Once I’m passed that, it’s just fun from there.
Currently we live in a world where an opioid epidemic is going on. Although this is a global issue, there are relatively high numbers of overdoses that occur at EDM events. Can you one piece of advice to fans who believe they can’t attend these kind of shows sober?
It’s hard because it’s linked very stereo-typically with the culture, but I think there is something really special and life-affirming about being in a place, a festival, listening to music that you love surrounded by thousands of people that you may or may not know. There is just this amazing collective energy that you don’t get anywhere else and at the end of the day, it’s not about how fucked up you got, it’s not about getting as lit as you can. There is something spiritual about events like these and that’s what people should be collecting their energy on, not just the drugs. Music is what’s going to sustain you for years and years of your life while popping a pill will give you a temporary feeling for the night.
Listen to ‘Closer’ below:
I know you as the man behind ‘Closer’, but what would you prefer to be known for the rest of your life or career in the industry?
The Mozart of EDM. For the record, that is a joke! But I don’t know. Legacy is not something that I think about. I found that it’s counterproductive to any creative energy that I have. Whenever you are trying to be something or project an image other than just you that is when you can hear it in the music. It just feels soulless and not special. All the best music that I have made was with no intention in mind other than what is exciting me about this song. I’ve experimented with a lot of different genres and a lot of different sounds, but at the end of the day, if I worried about how people are going to perceive my music than I would have created ‘Catching On’ which is a completely different departure from everything else that I’ve done.
One message to your fans!
Thank you for your support. You are the reason why I get to do this. As an artist, it has been a very rocky road, but it is very gratifying being able to do what I do. I hope you all continue to come along on the journey and that I can keep doing this for the rest of my life.
Catch Elephante at these festivals and more!
EDC- Las Vegas, NV // May 17, 2019
Paradiso- George, WA // June 14-15, 2019
Common Grounds- Lansing, MI // June 28, 2019
FVDED In The Park- Surrey, BC // July 5, 2019
Lollapalooza- Chicago, IL // August 1-4, 2019
Chasing Summer- Calgary, AB // August 3-4, 2019
Made In America- Philadelphia, PA // August 31, 2019